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letters to the editor

Specifics still lacking with wind turbine proposal in Barre

Posted 9 October 2019 at 8:26 am

Editor:

We see signs going up all over our town implying lower taxes. Well the first question on everybody’s mind is, “How much?”

When we ask this question we don’t get any answers, either from Apex Energy or the any of our current town board members. All we get is more signs.

Next, the citizenry wants to ask how much will Heritage Wind put in a bond to cover the diminished real estate values of our homes if a project is approved by our board or New York State? Strangely enough, no answer to that question either.

Then we ask how much real tax revenue would the our town’s people receive without a PILOT program? No answer to that one either.

Next I would like to ask why would Apex want to give more money to the school district when it is well known the district is already bursting at the seams with taxpayer money, how much more do they really need?

How much money has each of the board members already made by signing one of the most one-sided contracts I’ve ever read? How much did all of the board members pay the attorneys to advise on that issue?

How much longer will the turbine people continue to attack the watchdogs of this community? How much longer will the Town Board ignore our letters that ask if a project is completed here that any proceeds (bonded by the way by Apex) that all the pie in the sky or PILOT monies go to each home owner in Barre in the form of a tax rebate every year? How much will you guarantee?

How much more rhetoric will we hear from our town supervisor about his trip to Europe and how many people he spoke to there and how much you talk about their current love affair with industrial monoliths called turbines?

John Metzler

Barre

PILOT, Host Community Agreement from Heritage Wind would transform Barre

Posted 9 October 2019 at 8:17 am

Editor:

This letter is in response to Elizabeth Wolanyk’s letter on October 3. Her letter contained a lot of misinformation regarding the financial benefits Barre and Orleans County will receive from Heritage Wind.

With this inability to understand elementary facts and with the distortion of fundamental realities, it is not surprising that the poorly informed author of the previous letter to the editor and members of Clears Skies oppose the Heritage project.

First off, a PILOT, or Payment in Lieu of Taxes, is nothing new and is not unique to wind energy projects. A PILOT is primarily a vehicle to establish tax certainty for municipalities and a project. Unlike tax payments, which will decrease with depreciation, the PILOT will increase over time. Also, with a PILOT there is no risk of a reassessment that may require expensive challenges by our town or county.

Ms. Wolanyk correctly points out that PILOTS are shared among taxing jurisdictions, but fails to understand that the majority of the payments that will go to Barre will be made through a Host Community Agreement (HCA), not the PILOT, and those moneys come directly to the town.

In the case of Heritage Wind, both the PILOT and the HCA are still in negotiations, but the project has released that it will pay enough money every year to the town of Barre to about double its current tax revenue. Based on the current proposal before the town, Barre would receive more than (possibly much more than) $20 million in payments, directly to the town for town uses. The PILOT and HCA will be for a term of 20 or more years, not 15 years as Ms. Wolanyk suggested.

Ms. Wolanyk claims, “The Orleans County IDA lists pilot payments to both villages and towns with the villages taking a greater share of PILOT payments than the towns. Whether any villages will receive any PILOT payments from Heritage Wind is unknown but must be considered.” It is apparent that she does not live in or near Barre, because there is no village there to account for.

I am curious as to why Ms. Wolanyk is so concerned about the town of Barre when she lives in Barker, about 30 miles away. Since this letter was published, SOS also paid for an ad in the Pennysaver, trying to push their misinformation about wind turbines onto Barre residents. They are trying to interfere and take away money from a town they do not live in.

If they were truly concerned for our well-being as a town, they would do proper research before releasing false information. I easily found all of my information on the Heritage Wind website and asked Apex questions to learn more about the subject. I have lived in Barre my whole life, and I want my town to get the best deal possible. Heritage Wind is proposing a lot of money that can transform our town, and I don’t think it is wise for Barre to pass that up.

Alice Mathes

Barre

County should have more household hazardous waste collections

Posted 8 October 2019 at 2:26 pm

Editor:

How sad is it that we have to go to Monroe County and pay a fee to dispose of hazardous waste?

I’m cleaning out a garage that has chemicals from two homeowners ago, including lots of paint, stripper and other things you would find in a household garage. I call my local Orleans County office only to find out that they do this only once a year and that I have to go to Monroe County and pay a fee?

It was suggested to hang on to these until they have the pick up next August. Really? Are we really such a diminutive little town that we can only provide services once a year? What does our taxes pay for if not for services for the taxpayers?

Regards,

Stacey Keon

Albion

More immigrants needed to keep economy going strong

Posted 7 October 2019 at 10:12 am

Editor:

The numbers tell the story. The Latino contribution to the US economy would make this group the eighth largest economy in the world (LDC – US Latino GDPReport).

There is good news but there are two glaring exceptions. First, the deficit is exploding in excess of GDP. That debt needs to be paid. Second, while our 3.6 unemployment rate looks good, it is not. In fact, the job force is losing 300,000 baby boomers a month and we do not have the workers to sustain even our less than 2 percent growth in GDP rate or, worse, service the deficit.

We need a 1/3 increase in our economy to do that. What this means is that we have to solve our immigration problems or our economy will collapse for want of workers.

Conrad Cropsey

Albion

Stray cat from Albion recovering from injuries after being hit with birdshot pellets

Posted 4 October 2019 at 3:02 pm

Editor:

In late June an Albion resident found an injured stray cat with a wound on his face and appeared to be blind and deaf.

The woman in Albion contacted Hope for Cats, an all-volunteer cat rescue organization, and she surrendered Sonny to us. After a visit to a veterinarian, Sonny received medication for his wound, surgery for one eye condition, and he was neutered and vaccinated.

Provided photo: Sonny the cat remains friendly despite being a target of cruelty.

We made an appointment with a veterinary eye specialist who confirmed that he had no vision in either eye, and recommended removal of his right eye, which was visibly damaged, in order to avoid possible later development of a malignant sarcoma which can develop in cats with lens damage.

During this surgery eight birdshot pellets were recovered from Sonny’s right eye, and a skull X-ray found 28 more pellets lodged throughout his face and head. So, we received the shocking news that Sonny’s facial wound, his blindness, and probably his deafness, were caused by an intentional act of cruelty toward this perfectly friendly young cat.

Based on the pellets visible in the skull X-ray, the veterinarian advised removal of his left eye also, again to prevent future malignancy. This surgery was performed during which the veterinarian did confirm that two more of the pellets were actually lodged in his left eye.

Sonny is now recovering from this surgery and he is amazing in that he remains friendly, curious, affectionate, loves catnip toys and has no problem finding his litterbox, food and water. He has a safe and loving home waiting for him, and we look forward to a long and comfortable life for him, in spite of the abilities which have been senselessly taken away from him forever.

It is incomprehensible that someone could look this handsome guy in the face and shoot him. However, we have confidence that this person is not representative of Albion residents. This weekend some churches are having pet blessing events.

Sonny is among the many animals who are deserving of kind wishes and actions. If you would like to help with Sonny’s veterinary expenses, please visit our website (www.hopeforcatsinc.org) and use the “Donate” button or find us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hopeforcatsinc/), where we have his story, photos, and an opportunity to donate. Thank you for your attention to this letter and please be kind to our animal friends!

Karen Waible

Hope for Cats, Inc.

Hamburg, NY

Barre won’t get full financial benefit advertised by Heritage Wind with turbine project

Posted 3 October 2019 at 6:46 am

Editor:

I sincerely hope that the residents of the Town of Barre do not believe the ads bought by Apex promoting how much money the town will have by accepting Heritage Wind into the community.

Apex is very adept at misleading the public and Town Boards. The term PILOT is Payment in Lieu of Taxes. PILOT payments generally pay only 25 percent of the value of a project. That is why companies like PILOTs so much and will often not move forward without a PILOT. So, from the outset there is a huge loss of taxes for the town. But that is only the beginning.

Apex makes it seem that all of the funds will benefit the town but that is not so. PILOTs are negotiated by the county’s Economic Development Agency (EDA) or Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and that is how they fund their staff and offices. So they take a large chunk of any PILOT.

The school district, or perhaps school districts, take a large portion of the PILOT money because students from the town of Barre attend one of four districts. (The Heritage Wind documentation (PSS) indicates school districts – plural.) However, PILOTs mess up limitations set by the state tax cap and will cause additional problems if and when it goes into effect and when it ends. So the New York State School boards Association has taken a stand against schools accepting PILOT payments.

The Orleans County IDA lists pilot payments to both villages and towns with the villages taking a greater share of PILOT payments than the towns. Whether any villages will receive any PILOT payments from Heritage Wind is unknown but must be considered.

In the 2018 Orleans County Economic Development Agency’s IDA report of PILOT payments, the schools received almost half of the PILOT monies (48%), the county received almost a quarter of the PILOT monies (23%), towns received just less than 10 percent of PILOT payments and villages were paid almost a fifth of the PILOT monies (19%). So, the town gets the last and smallest share of a PILOT payment.

But that is not the end of the Apex deception. This payment is over the life of the project – proposed to be 15 years or so. So instead of considering the advertised $35 million benefit to the town, consider $2.33 million each year divided among the EDA, school districts and the town [(and or village(s)].

How much will be left each year for the town’s benefit? It will certainly be less than a third perhaps much less and what will you be trading away to get it? And why does the Heritage Wind logo only show a tractor – not a wind turbine in sight?

Elizabeth Wolanyk

Barker

Partisan baloney ailing politics in the United States

Posted 1 October 2019 at 8:35 am

Editor:

There is way too much partisan baloney in the United States. But I have no intention of “going off” and writing a book at this time.

Depending on the Democratic nominee, I might vote for a Republican in 2020. But it won’t be someone who differs from Richard Nixon principally in that he isn’t smart enough to resign.

However, should Mark Sanford or William Weld be the Republican nominee, I may very well vote Republican in 2020.

It would take someone as level-headed as Senator Amy Klobuchar to get me to check the box on Row B. Of course, if the current occupant of the White House is re-nominated, my guess is that it will practically guarantee a Democratic victory in 2020.

I continue to believe that impeachment and conviction lets the citizens of this Republic off the hook. He and his entourage deserve it, but it is time to admit we made a mistake in 2016.

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent

Albion

Put country over politics and impeach President Trump

Posted 1 October 2019 at 8:32 am

Editor:

President Trump tried to use foreign aid to Ukraine to dig up dirt on his potential political opponent. Ukraine, an ally of the United States, is involved in a shooting war with Russia.

The aid to Ukraine is needed military aid which was approved by Congress to support our ally. Using taxpayer money to extort political favors is an impeachable offense. Using taxpayer money for personal gain is an impeachable offense. Using taxpayer money to impede a democratic ally in a shooting war against an autocratic adversary of the United States is an impeachable offense.

Republicans are pushing some conspiracy theory that Vice President Joe Biden did the same thing. There are several important differences. First, Joe Biden was working with our democratic interest and European allies. Second, Vice President Biden was pushing Ukraine to investigate corruption not to squash an investigation. Third, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Vice President Biden. If there was, the FBI would investigate, not a struggling democracy.

Chris Collins supports Mr. Trump. Collins doesn’t think using tax payer dollars to subvert U. S. foreign policies to enrich Mr. Trump is an impeachable offense. He does not think supporting an ally, a democratic ally, over an autocratic adversary is an impeachable offense. He doesn’t think using taxpayer money for personal gain is impeachable. He doesn’t think subversion of democracy is impeachable.

It is time to put country over politics. It is time to defend democracy. It is time to defend our constitution. It is time to elect new representatives. Thank you.

William Fine

Brockport

Closing of hardware store is big loss for Albion community

Posted 25 September 2019 at 8:07 am

Editor:

It was with sadness in my heart that I walked into The Family Hardware early Monday morning. A gaggle of long-time customers was seated in the back area for what will be one of the last get-togethers there.

Yes, this is so very sad for this community to lose yet another convenient and frequently entered store in the heart of our village. Thanks to Fred Miller and all that he maintained in the village of Albion following the loss of Fischer’s Newsstand and the loss of many county employees as they moved to the hill well beyond walking distance of any village retail stores.

Even with formidable health conditions last year and this, Fred kept his business open and the village and customers benefited from his dedication. And so Fred, enjoy the abundance of time before you now in good health!

Karen Watt

Albion

Hawley and staff thanked for leading Patriot Trip

Posted 23 September 2019 at 4:42 pm

Editor:

I want to publicly thank Assemblyman Steve Hawley, his staff members Eileen Banker and Jayleen Carney, Eileen’s husband Dale Banker for a great and successful Patriot’s Trip to Washington, D. C. I also want to thank the bus drivers Mike Degaugh and Cory Duthoy for their mild-manner handling all the traffic conditions while being friendly and courteous to all passengers. Finally, a thank you to Jim Freas for all of his assistance.

We left the slow rolling hills of Genesee County, full of gently swaying corn fields, for the turbulent memories of war and conflict. The trip included too many stops to mention here. This was not just a trip to learn history, or to remember past heroes.

For me this was also a trip to remember men I knew, who fought next to me; men who died in my arms while a medic tried to save them. Remembering is not the word I want to use because I can never forget these scenes; they never leave me.

This trip served a therapeutic purpose, I got a sense of closure. Again, I want to thank Assemblyman Steve Hawley, his staff, the bus drivers and Jim Freas for a very successful trip.

William Fine

Brockport